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CFPB Report: Many Consumers Being Unjustly Heckled By Debt Collectors

Michael Rapp July 30, 2014

It seems that consumer debt harassment is as rampant as ever. According to a 2014 report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the organization received over 30,000 consumer complaints from July-December 2013. The majority of complaints stemmed from consumers being harassed by debt collectors about debts they did not owe.

The CFPB specifically notes that roughly one-third of the complaints it received between July and December 2013 were consumers being contacted about debt they believe they did not owe or was already paid.

Other main findings of the report were complaints of debt collectors using aggressive communication tactics, such as abusive language, and also threats of illegal actions, such as jail time if consumers did not pay up.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray stressed that one of the values of the CFPB is to protect consumers against debt harassment: “Consumers should never be hounded about debts they do not owe.”. “We will not tolerate companies harassing consumers or threatening illegal actions in the debt collection market. We will continue to work hard to ensure that consumers are treated with dignity and fairness.”

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

From July-December 2013, the CFPB received over 30,000 debt harassment complaints from consumers

The report also explains ways that the CFPB is working to protect consumers from unjust debt harassment. The CFPB released new rules and regulations in late 2013 to ensure that it minimizes the frequency of unjustified debt collection requests, use of aggressive communication tactics, and threats of illegal action.

Enforcing fair play among the more than 4,500 debt collection agencies in the U.S. is a tall order for the CFPB. As the report notes, debt collection is a multi-billion dollar industry, and responding to thousands of consumer complaints can be cumbersome and time-consuming.

However, last year the CFPB took legal action against two debt collection agencies, CashCall Inc., and Cash America International, Inc., for foul play. Both lawsuits resulted in refunds for victimized consumers involved.

Debt harassment clearly continues to be a major problem in both the Kansas City, KS area, and other areas of the United States. Consumer Legal Clinic is committed to holding collection agencies accountable and protecting the rights of consumers.

Read more about the CFPB report here.